The Council of Minister’s Press and Quick Reaction Unit yesterday released a video clip detailing treason accusations against former opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who is accused of agreeing to cede four northeastern provinces to Vietnam’s Montagnards if he won the 2013 election.
In the 19-minute video titled “The family of traitor to the nation, religion and the king,” the Press and Quick reaction Unit contended that Mr Rainsy proved to be a traitor as he instigated people to protest, and disparaged the King.
Tith Sothea, spokesman for the Quick Reaction Unit, said the video was intended to inform the public that Mr Rainsy was a traitor.
“The Quick Reaction Unit has a duty to give an explanation to the public to understand clearly that treason cannot be tolerated,” Mr Sothea said. “We have to follow legal procedures based on existing evidence.”
The video was released after the Interior Ministry’s Counter-Terrorism Department on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against Mr Rainsy following Prime Minister Hun Sen’s order.
The case stems from a leaked video on Facebook within a post that included documents dated April 12, 2013 and bearing the signatures of Mr Rainsy and that of Kok Ksor, head of a Montagnard association in the United States.
The Facebook post alleged that Mr Rainsy signed an agreement just months before the 2013 election to cede Cambodian territory to Montagnards if his opposition CNRP won the poll.
Mongtagnard is a French term referring to a Vietnamese hill tribe, also known as Degar, most of whom are from Christian ethnic minority groups residing in the Vietnam Central Highlands.
In the video footage posted on the Facebook account of Rithy Erng, Mr Rainsy can be heard speaking in English at a conference.
“Those people who themselves are Degar people, they are part of the Cambodian nation,” Mr Rainsy said. “They live in Mondulkiri, Ratanakkiri, Stung Treng and Kratie provinces. We are very grateful to the Degar who have been very supportive of the Cambodia National Rescue Party.
“When we establish a new government, we will ensure that Montagnards, the Degar people, will live as free citizens in Cambodia,” he said. “Their lands, their forests, their mountains will be returned to them.”
Mr Rainsy has lived in exile since 2015 after being hit with slew of court cases, including by Mr Hun Sen who accused him of defamation.
Mr Hun Sen said last week during the inauguration of a bridge in Kampong Cham province that the case against Mr Rainsy is “very big”.
“It’s a very big case and treason has clearly emerged; no one has the right to cede Cambodia land,” he said.